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Full text of "Opinions of eminent liberal authors"

Irish Question, No. 17.] 



OPINIONS OF EMINENT 
LIBERAL AUTHORS. 



MR. J. S. MILL ON HOME RULE. 

" It is my conviction that the separation of Ireland from 
Great Britain would be most undesirable for both, and that 
the attempt to hold them together by any form of 
federal union would be unsatisfactory while it lasted, 
and would end either in reconquest or in com- 
plete separation. 

" For generations it is to be feared that the two nations- 
would be either at war or in a chronic state of precarious 
and armed peace, each constantly watching a probable 
enemy so near at hand that in an instant they might be at 
each other's throat. By this state of their relations it is> 
almost superfluous to say that the poorer of the two coun- 
tries would suffer most. To England it would be an incon- 
venience ; to Ireland a public calamity, not only in the 
way of direct burthen, but by the paralysing effect of a 
general feeling of insecurity upon industrial energy and 
enterprise. 

" Let it not be supposed that I should regard either an 
absolute or a qualified separation of the two coun- 
tries otherwise than as a dishonour to one and a 
serious misfortune to both." 

"England and Ireland." By J. S. M,.: 

MR. GOLDWIN SMITH ON HOME RULE. 

"The words of a very true Liberal and a most accomplished man who 
has lived a great deal in the United States and in Canada/' — Earl Selborne, 
at Alton, May 5, 1886. 

" The rupture of the Legislative Union and its inevitable 
sequel, the carving of a hostile Irish Republic out of the 
flank of the United Kingdom, would, as we believe, be fatal 
to the power and greatness which are the common heritage 
of our whole race. We shall bow our heads in shame 
unutterable, and be unable again to look a foreigner in the 
face, if Mr. Gladstone or any one else succeed in persuading 



Jec.97~"/t&y 



the nation to commit so foul, so dastardly, and at the same 
time so suicidal a crime as the abandonment of the 
Loyalists of Ireland." 

April, 1886. 

MR. W. E- H. LECKY ON HOME RULE. 

" To establish a Home Eule Parliament in Ireland at 
present would be simply to give legislative powers to the 
National League. . . . He did not know whether a 
National League Parliament would be set up or not, 
but if it was it would not last. It might be sur- 
rounded by limitations, but sooner or later they would be 
swept away by a declaration of rights, for which there was 
an abundance of precedents in Irish history.. After the 
establishment of such a Parliament the Irish Question 
would become more intolerable than e*er. Give Homo 
Rule and we must go further— either forwards to 
absolute separation, or backwards probably to 
the destruction of all Parliamentary represen- 
tation; and whatever course -was taken, it would pr 
be accompanied by bloodshed. Great nations could 
humiliate themselves with impunity. If we OTUXexuL 
the government of Ireland to rebels, it wouM 
become known throughout Europe that the, old imperial 
spirit of England had passed, that the days of tike Em] 
were numbered, and that the handwriting was already 
the wall." 

S})cech at Kensington, Menrh 17, 1SJ66. 

MR. MATTHEW ARNOLD ON HOME RULE. 

■;• A separate Parliament for Ireland is Mr. Gladstone'* 
irreducible minimum. Ireland is a nation, says Mr. Panu U 
menacingly, Mr. Stansfeld gushingly ; a nation should have 
its national Parliament. 

" Ireland has been a nation, a most unhappy one. Wales, 
too, and Scotland, have been nations. But politically, they 
are now nations no longer, any one of them. This country 
could not have risen to its present greatness if they had 
been. Give them separate Parliaments, and you begin, no 
-doubt, to make them again nations politically ; but you 
i>egiii also to undo what has made this country great." 

Letter to the " Times;' May 22, 1886. 



Published by the Liberal Committee for the Maintenance oi 
Legislative Union between Great Britain and Ireland, 
35; Spring Gardens, S.>V.